Is The Martial Arts Superstar A Thing Of The Past?



Michelle Yeoh. Jet Li. Chow Yun-Fat. Jackie Chan. All were Asian Martial Arts performer who transitions into genuine A-List Hollywood fame. Though these legendary Martial Arts performers have had a long, lustrous career. It seems performers of this magnitude are becoming fewer and far between. Actors like Donnie Yen and Tony Jaa are mainstays in the industry, but the Martial Arts transition to Hollywood has been in a drastic decline.

#martialarts #jackiechan #nerdstalgic

Sources:
HK Cinema – History of the Shaw Brothers Studios

Black Belt Magazine – Bruce Lee and his Lasting Impact

Games Radar – 8 Ways Bruce Lee Changed The World

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38 thoughts on “Is The Martial Arts Superstar A Thing Of The Past?”

  1. Everything from old school cinema is a thing of the past. Modern cinema is a cgi driven lazy bullshit. Theres no craft left other than talented cgi teams. Bu they are not filmmakers or artists

  2. Tony Jaa was in a Fast and Furious movie, but his "big" starring role was Monster Hunter along with Milla Jocovich and was a real stinker. unlucky for him as Ong Bak/Warrior King were outstanding.

  3. The misconception is that martial artist matters were meant to be stars.

    It was just a hot second because stunt doubles have been martial artists since the cinema was invented.

  4. I don't think the climate is right for a Chinese martial arts superstar. The political situation is not ideal. I think China is withdrawing and not encouraging culture sharing as much right now.

    Secondly, traditional Chinese martial arts are starting a painful rebuilding phase right now. I'm sure you all know about the MMA guy beating up mystical masters and disproving them. I wouldn't want to try and push a film about how great traditional martial arts are until that starts to settle out one way or another.

    I'm quite sure China will produce world class martial artists for cinema again, it just won't be the same as it was. I don't know what it will look like, but it probably won't be a Jet Li or Gordon Liu.

  5. Jackie Chan and jet li are the best. Loved rush hour series and Romeo must die. It sucks that today there aren’t any new good actors to push this genre. World has gone to shit

  6. I'd love to see you do a video essay on the car chase genre. Its one of my favorites but sadly they arent around anymore, and franchises like Fast and the Furious completely abandoned the genre in favor of a mindless Grand Theft Auto Online/Saints Row type world where anything happens

  7. Maybe cause of this recent stupid trend of putting question mark at martial arts by picking at these old movies. Its like bad phase where people suddenly come up with something to gossip/revolt about.

  8. I don't think it's over but the global success of martial arts action stars will take a bit of a dive now as the world is exposed more and more to real martial arts.

    MMA, Muay Thai/Kickboxing are much more accessible now, The global understanding of martial arts and real physical combat are understood to a much higher degree these days than was the case decades ago. When you land a perfect roundhouse kick to the head of someone irl they don't fly off their feet and spin around 3 times in the air before landing. More people know that now and therefore it's much harder to sell.

    You could even do a parallel between the struggles of WWE and Martial arts movies because there is one. While both still have dedicated long-term fans; It's becoming increasingly difficult to sell fake combat in a modern world.

  9. No, it’s just that there’s no one as iconic enough to take over that title. Someone like Jackie Chan is iconic because most of his career is built on martial arts films. I can’t think of anyone else these days whose willing to dedicate themselves to the craft.

  10. To answer the question titled in the video…

    The martial arts movie was always a niche thing in the United States. No one before or since as reach the heights of Bruce Lee, and even he wasn't the most popular movie star (in the USA) of his own era. 🤷🏾‍♂️

  11. I think through Streaming it has also become easier for Eastern production to gain viewership in the U.S and Europe without the Gatekeepers in Hollywood.
    Also the eastern market is huge, so maybe competent asian actors just don't want to associate with the people that currently haunt the american film industrie ( and this will remain my head-canon until proven otherwise )

  12. I don’t think this is an “Asian martial arts star” issue. More so, the age of the superstar it’s self seems to be over. Names alone just don’t carry movies anymore.

  13. This could easily be solved with more marketing and celeb-show biz. Get some asian actors on late night talk shows, New Yorker, the Times, Oprahs or whatever the f people pay attention to as signs of "in zeitgeist" and audiences will gobble it up. Those channels then propagate social media trends.
    People en masse don't watch just out of familiarity, but as social "in group" signaling, to belong/partake to a trend.
    Lots of asian movies exist in a sort of separate universe. Edit: also, out of sight, out of mind.

  14. I was fascinated by those movies being a child in the 90’s but when I realized that it was a choreography like in WWE I lose all the interests….thus began to watch UFC to see the “true” thing

  15. It hasn't really been a thing since the late 90s – early 2000's. I think Donnie Yen was the last one(who took it from Jet Li once he started to slow down).

  16. Americans have learned to make their own martial arts films with their own actors. Just train them for a few months to look good on film. For the difficult parts, there are doubles.

    Martial arts training is kind of an actors repertoire nowadays just like singing, dancing, stage performing use to be.